251 W 55th St, New York, NY | Directions 1001940.765223 -73.983169
Monday To Thursday From 05:30 PM To 12:00 AM Friday To Saturday From 05:30 PM To 01:00 AM Sunday From 05:30 PM To 11:00 PM
Neighborhoods: Midtown, Clinton
If you like cold sake and hot meats on sticks, this is the place for you. One of New York's best, and most authentic, izakayas, Yakitori Totto is a favorite of Japanese nationals and not a few of the city's top chefs. The place is especially devoted to chicken, every imaginable part of which is somewhere to be found on this menu. The only downside is that they use gas, rather than the hot-burning Japanese charcoal this food was meant to be cooked on.
Tastiest chicken you can eat – You can taste the taste of chicken. These days it's very hard to have a great checken.
Only negative part is hard to get in without reservation.
best yakitori place in NYC – Love the chicken meat balls w. soy and also the grilled pork belly w. onions sauce on top.. Every skewers were grilled to perfection.
Not very impressed – I love Aburiya Kinnosuke and I like Soba Totto, but this restaurant owned by the same people leaves something to be desired. The food is not as good as at its sister restaurant, and the atmosphere aims at being authentic, but the service is subpar for a good Japanese restaurant. The prices are a bit on the high side. I would say that one could certainly come here for a beer and have some yakitori if you are in the area, but I wouldn't bother planning your night out around this place.
Great Food but HORRENDOUS service – Being an ultimate foodie, I was really excited to be back at Yakitori Totto. But this last experience was very different from my first time there.
We got a small room in the back b/c I made reservations, thank goodness for that or else we would've never gotten seats. From the moment we stepped into the place to the moment we left, not once did we see a smile on the waitstaff's faces. Most of them were grumpy and annoyed looking throughout the entire dinner, especially when we were requesting things and ordering. That ruined my appetite a bit to see such attitudes. It was as if she thought we were strange for ordering some of the dishes. I cant argue about the food though...it was delicious. Our favorite were the chicken meatballs, the wings, the organic pork with lemon/scallions, the tofu dishes, and the fried sweet yam. We enjoyed the dishes but we hope that they would train the staff better and at least pretend you are happy to be working there so that the customers would enjoy their meals more. Our waitress also was not very helpful when we asked for sake recommendations. Also, they gave us attitudes about 1-2 ppl coming later than the rest of the party. It was raining out and there were supposed to be a hurricane...at least the majority of us were there and we ordered already. Therefore, I really dont think it should make any difference to them at all.
Overall I might go back just for the food but I really like to see diff ppl working there or least get a personality makeover.
Horrendous Service – I've been a fairly regular to Yakitori Totto for more than a year, food is decent but I had THE worst service I have ever had last night. I went there 5:30pm when they open which almost guarantee a spot without wait. I was first seated at the bar spot closet to the entrance where you cannot really enjoy your dinner without hitting your right elbow every time you pick up your chopsticks. (the place was fairly empty since it just opened for the night)
I requested to move and they offered a table if we leave before 7pm, which was fine every time I went. Not this time, not only the waitress came over 4-5 times over the hour reminding us that we have to leave by 7pm from 5:40 til 6:30, never once asked how's the food and only refilled our hot tea once out of request. (The waitresses are pretty much different every few weeks - either they have different shifts or really high turnovers, so I think they're only trained how to put into orders into the handhelds device.) To top that off, another wait staff who wasn't serving us came over around 6:30, firmly asking us to move to the bar to finish the rest of our dinner. It was until I asked to know the reason why I was asked to move that she acknowledge and apologized for a seating mistake they have. I was on my last course(well, they came randomly, so don't expect appetizers to come before "main courses", which is ok with me), which I waited for at least 5 minutes after I finished my dishes prior to that, and I was asked to move without any reasons or apology.
Our waiter came to apologize and I told her that she's rude coming here reminding us we have to leave by 7pm way before for numerous number of times and failed to tend to her customer, she apologized and claimed she would talk to her manager. In my opinion, this is too little, too late, and I did not hear any apology in any form from the manager.
This is a totally disappointing experience, maybe because I'm not Japanese as per prev. posters.
Mind-blowingly great food – White not a seasoned yakitori expert, I was treated to an unforgettable dinner at this understated 2nd-floor dream, and was lucky enough to be joined by a real Japanese transplant to New York. The food might have been the best I've ever had in Manhattan, in the most authentic Tokyo setting. We were feeling adventurous and went for whatever was most obscure; the raw octopus was RIDICULOUSLY good, and the yakitoris were screaming with flavor and freshness. I'm struggling to think that you could go wrong with any dish at this restaurant.
The setting was so intimate and inviting with gorgeous and bubbly Japanese waitresses. Snagging a table may be difficult but worth all the hassle! I have rarely been so satisfied with a meal. Go with a small group (max 4 people) and with your appetite. Don't be scared to try something different! Don't walk, run to this one-of-a-kind Japanese heaven far and away from every standard sushi joint.
Terrible Service, Ridiculously Overpriced, Mind-Bogglingly Mediocre Food – I lived in Japan for several years, and while I wouldn't call myself a yakitori expert, I know my way around a skewer of cooked meat well enough. Yakitori Totto was so bad that I felt compelled to create a city search account just to vent. The venue is small and not well ventilated. The wait staff was "difficult" to say the least... they turned down my requests for mustard, miso, and mayo because the food was so tastesless. I told them I didn't care about an extra charge, but they were all holier-than-thou about store policy. How about the policy that you give the customer what he wants? When they finally gave in to the miso request (my polite Japanese friend was doing the negotiating too), the quantity they gave me was about the size of a nickel and they charged me $1. They tried to charge us for rice that they never brought, even though we ordered it. And they weren't apologetic at all. Then let's talk about the food... even my Japanese friend thought the food was bland. At least they didn't overcook it. The value is absolutely terrible. You get one skewer for about $3-10. You walk away feeling hungry and cheated. I hope this place goes out of business, I really do. Giving them business is essentially telling them that it's OK to feed you overpriced food and treat you like... a piece of brown fecal matter.
Good Value, Tasty Yakitori – First time I've been to a Yakitori Restaurant, so while I may not be an expert I know what I like (I'm sure there are many other ppl out there who have never tried Yakitori and are curious just like I was). It was pretty tasty. The bulk of the menu is various parts of chicken barbarqued on a stick.
Its a tiny place with stairs leading up to the first floor. We had to wait 15 mins on a Monday night at 7, the queue for tables got alot longer while we were there so I would reccomend coming early or making reservations.
The service was great, the best place to sit is my the bar/counter as you can see your food being prepared in front of you which is great fun and also the chefs will bring the food directly to you which means you get your food quickly. They also explain what each dish is, which is handy as all chicken looks the same to me!
Make sure you keep your menu as you can try a little of everything and then order another round of food if you're not full, or see somehing else you like (we always over order in restaurants so ordering the food a little by little was good for me).
I would recommend the chicken hearts, meatball in brown sauce and the soft shell crab (great value for money). Had the soup, as many Yakitori as I could eat and the softshell crab and beers (the beers comes in a stone pitcher, kept the beer cold and was really cool!) and the bill came to just under $60 for 2 - great value. Beware of the uncooked quails eggs tho they give me a slightly poorly stomach - it was the eggs as it was the only thing my gf didn't eat and she was fine (if you still want to try it, do what we saw the japanese customers do, beat the eggs with your chopsticks and use it as a dip - don't just swallow the thing whole like i did!!!)
Would definitely go there again but beware, it gets very busy!
Overpriced yakitori...IF they have it and you've got the time! – After a 45-minute wait (on a Tuesday night!), my girlfried and I were seated. We proceeded to order all sorts of yakitori. After twenty minutes, and watching those (all japanese) who came in after we did getting served, we asked our waitress if our food was on the way (even the cucumber!?) and only then did she tell us they were out of two of the items we ordered (and the two that we were really looking foward to eating!). We should have left then. The yakitori that did eventually arrive was ok. Some of it was undercooked. The whole experience was a drag and a waste of time and money. (My girlfriend felt that we may have been treated casually because we were not japanese. I have no reason to believe this was the case). We'll look for other places to try.
P.S. I see from reading other reviews that running out of items early seems to be somewhat common at this and even some other yakitori places. Still, you shouldn't have to wait 20 minutes to be told this.
Excellent Food. Wonderful Experience. – After reading about this place on Michael Ruhlman's blog where he described how wonderful the experience of eating chicken bones was ("best chix ever!" his notes read) and hearing that it was Tom Keller's favorite Manhattan joint, I decided I had to check this place out. It is now one of my favorite joints as well. The service is friendly and attentive and the food is very, very good. After getting over our disappointment upon hearing that the breast bone and soft knee bones were not available, my girlfriend and I quickly dove into their other offerings. The fried anchovies with green tea salt, the chicken heart, chicken liver, pork with lemon, pork dumplings, eggplant, soft shell crab and rice with cod roe and broth were all wonderful dishes. Each was expertly cooked, perfectly seasoned and very well presented. We loved the savoriness of the dishes and the play of textures found in the various plates. Two carafes of sake were downed as we ate, and were a very nice accompaniment to the food. Oh, and the desserts! We finished up with the rice cake with red bean soup and the green tea pudding, both wonderful. The pudding was the epitome green teaness. I'll be going back very soon.
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